Top 3 Common Myths About Personal Injury Lawsuits
Common Misconceptions About Personal Injury Lawsuits
Some people believe that a personal injury lawsuit is their ticket to a life of excess and luxury. Television advertisements for some law firms encourage this belief. Many commercials cite “millions of dollars” in recovery and talk about “getting maximum compensation” with no risk.
Although many people do recover substantial amounts through personal injury lawsuits, some myths are widespread. In the following post, we will examine three of the most common myths about personal injury lawsuits.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you should speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you to separate the facts from fiction in your case.
Myth #1 – All Personal Injury Lawsuits Are Worth a Lot of Money
As we mentioned above, some advertisements mislead viewers about the realities of personal injury lawsuits. They may feature former clients boasting about their large settlements or verdict amounts. These commercials make compensation from a lawsuit seem like easy money.
Another problem is the national media’s preference for sensationalism. The personal injury cases that are reported about by large media corporations are the outliers. They tend to focus on cases in which the victim was awarded an extraordinary amount of money. These instances are newsworthy precisely because they are rare.
In reality, most successful personal injury cases are settled for much less than six figures. Many claimants recover less than $20,000. Every day, these cases are handled in county courthouses and law offices without fanfare.
Myth #2 – Financial Recovery Makes the Victim Rich
When a jury awards an injury victim with compensation, the facts of the case determine the amount that the victim can expect to receive. Typically, the value of a personal injury case is determined by the following factors:
- Past, present, and future medical costs
- Long-term rehabilitation or therapy expenses
- Lost income or wages due to missed work
- The physical and mental pain and suffering of the victim
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Personal injury victims often do receive financial compensation. But it is not easy money. Many of these costs are paid by the victim before they receive money from their case.
Even expenses that are not paid at the time of the settlement do not represent a profit. For instance, suppose a victim secures $1,000,000 from their personal injury case. That money may be accounted for in the following ways:
- $400,000 for past medical bills
- $400,000 for future medical needs and long-term care
- $200,000 for accessibility devices, such as a wheelchair and wheelchair-accessible van
The point of personal injury lawsuits is not to make the claimant rich. Rather, these cases are a way of making victims financially whole when they accrue costs through no fault of their own.
Myth #3 – Anyone Can File a Personal Injury Claim at Any Time
You cannot file a personal injury lawsuit simply because you feel like it. In fact, even some injury victims are unable to secure financial recovery for their accident.
The majority of personal injury cases require the claimant to prove that another party’s negligence caused their damages. If your injuries are determined to be your fault or if you do not have sufficient evidence to prove negligence, you will not have a case.
The legal standard of “negligence” requires the claimant to prove the following:
- The at-fault party had a duty of care at the time of the accident. For example, a motorist has a duty to drive in a safe and lawful manner.
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care. Driving while texting would represent a breach of the duty of care.
- The at-fault party’s actions directly led to harms that the claimant suffered. In other words, the at-fault party caused the accident and the resulting injuries, and therefore is responsible for the damages.
Another constraint on your ability to file a lawsuit is the statute of limitations for personal injury claims. A statute of limitations is a time limit after which an injured person cannot seek compensation.
The statute of limitations will vary by state. For example, California has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases.
As you can see, there are many pervasive myths surrounding personal injury lawsuits. In order to explore all of your legal options when you’ve been in an accident, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Let Our Personal Injury Attorney Take It From Here
We are here to handle all of the paperwork and legal details of your personal injury claim so you can focus on recovering from your injury. To arrange a free initial consultation with the chair of our Personal Injury Department, Joshua M. Kimura, please contact our law offices today.